Tuesday 24 October 2017

'Michael Flatley sold his soul by performing for Donald Trump' - Irish soprano Celine Byrne

Celine Byrne on The Late Late Show. Image: RTE
Celine Byrne on The Late Late Show. Image: RTE
Michael Flatley introduces Lord of the Dance during Trump's inauguration
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

Irish soprano Celine Byrne has slammed Michael Flatley for performing at Donald Trump's inauguration.

Speaking on The Late Late Show, Ms Byrne told host Ryan Tubridy that she will not perform for Trump if he visits Ireland as she has to "protect" her artistic integrity.

"I have to protect my artistic integrity… I just don’t believe in some of his ideas, let's just put it that way," she said.

Ms Byrne, who has performed for popes and presidents in the past, said that Mr Flatley was "selling his soul" by performing for the new US president.

Michael Flatley introduces Lord of the Dance during Trump's inauguration
Michael Flatley introduces Lord of the Dance during Trump's inauguration

"Listen, I know that Michael Flatley went and he got his troop to perform there. I thought, 'Each to their own, it’s a business and if he wants to make money that way by selling his soul, that’s fine.'"

Ms Byrne said that she felt that the famous dancer missed the opportunity to make a statement through dance during the performance.

"There was an absolutely huge opportunity there through the art form of dance to make a statement or to do something. They could have done that."

"Everybody has seen Centenary and how beautiful it was and how the story of the 1916 Rising was told through dance and he could have easily told a story in a subtle way through dance when he was over there. It was kind of a wasted opportunity, I think," she said.

Mr Flatley previously told the Irish Independent that it was a "great honour" to be asked to perform at the Liberty Ball.

"We have performed for many presidents," he said.

"It is always a great honour to be asked."

"This is a very special night and it is a great honour to be invited to be part of it."

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